The Air Force Academy has revealed the racial slurs found in September were written by a black cadet.

Racial Slurs at the Air Force Academy That Sparked National Attention Were Written by Black Cadet

Racial Slurs at the Air Force Academy That Sparked National Attention Were Written by Black Cadet

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Nov. 8 2017 3:40 PM

Racial Slurs at the Air Force Academy That Sparked National Attention Were Written by Black Cadet

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In September, a racist incident at the U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School added a dramatic entry to the growing list of hate incidents this year when five black cadets found racial slurs written on message boards on their doors. The following scandal led to a school and Air Force probe, and the video that followed of the school’s superintendent condemning the act was watched 1.2 million times and later praised by Joe Biden and John McCain. Those slurs, the school announced Tuesday, were written by one of the black students who reported to have been targeted by them.

The cadet behind the slurs admitted his guilt, the school said, and is no longer enrolled. The reason for the cadet’s actions aren’t known, but the Colorado Springs Gazette reported that several people said it was a “bizarre bid to get out of trouble he faced at the school for other misconduct.”

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Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, the school’s superintendent, who gave the speech that garnered national attention after the incident was first reported, stood by his speech, according to an email to the Gazette. “Regardless of the circumstances under which those words were written, they were written, and that deserved to be addressed,” he wrote. “You can never over-emphasize the need for a culture of dignity and respect—and those who don’t understand those concepts, aren’t welcome here.”

The revelation appeared to delight right-wing media, and it stirred fears from some who are afraid that incidents such as these can give people an excuse to disregard or disbelieve stories of prejudice and hate.

The U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School, which is on the grounds of the Air Force Academy, helps students, many of whom will go on to be collegiate athletes, meet the academy’s entrance requirements, according to the Gazette.

Molly Olmstead is a Slate assistant social media editor.